Borussia Dortmund dealt serious blow as head scout Markus Pilawa departs for Bayern Munich

Borussia Dortmund chief scout Markus Pilawa who had in recent months been linked to clubs including Bochum and Hertha Berlin has left the Signal-Iduna-Park-based club with immediate effect for Bayern Munich, according to Sport1.

Although the departure may not come as a surprise, the destination will be less than welcome news to many BVB fans as CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke had made a ‘no selling to Bayern’ promise in 2021 which the club had gained a great deal of good will with fans for as a result.

The 2005 near bankruptcy of the club has led the management of BVB to manage Germany’s only stock-market quoted football club very fiscally conservatively. Borussia have only run a loss in four of the last 17 years of which two were during the pandemic which affected clubs across the industry.

BVB as a club are almost completely reliant on the talent-development model. Letting the Bochum-born leading talent scout go to the main rival, and a rival that has won the last 10 Bundesliga titles at that, has not gone down well at all with fans. Across twitter and BVB’s largest fan forum ‘Schwatz-Gelb,’ BVB fans have been expressing their sense of outrage accusing Bayern of ‘predatory tactics’ and ‘bullying’ to undermine their Ruhrgebiet-based rivals.

The move has brought back memories of the Munich giants recruitment of players critical to their rivals in the past including Thomas Helmer and Mats Hummels. In particular the move for midfielder Mario Götze, at the time one of BVB’s most talented players, on the eve of the 2012/13 Champions League final caused a massive storm amongst fans. On his return to Dortmund the Germany international was forced to warm up in the tunnel due to objects being thrown by fans. Although Götze who now plays for Eintracht returned to play for BVB in 2016.

Pilawa has been with the club since 2012 and was promoted to head scout in 2017 when Sven Mislintat was forced out of his position due a series of misunderstandings with then head-coach Thomas Tuchel that eventually led to the Dortmund-born Mislintat departure for Arsenal.

Pilawa, who was previously with Bochum under Peter Neuerer, is credited with identifying some of BVB’s top talents of the last decade including Jadon Sancho, Jude Bellingham, Jamie Bynoe-Gittens, Ousmane Dembele and Gio Reyna.

The 44-year-old had been in contract negotiations and had one year left on his contract. The reasons for his departure may be connected with the appointment of 52-year-old French talent scout Laurent Busser, who had been appointed as Pilawa’s assistant but will now take over as head of analysis and scouting.

The timing of the departure with two days before the official start to the season the first round of the DFB Pokal where Dortmund travel to Munich to play 1860 will be regarded by many as ominous.

It remains to be seen whether new sporting director Sebastian Kehl will be seeking to replace Pilawa amongst the club’s technical staff.

Ben McFadyean

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